Rowan County High Point Trip Report

Date: October 11, 2003
Author: Ken Oeser

one area with BM, 2 miles east-northeast of Crane Creek Church

The Benchmark elevation for this point, at the highest ground, is 1,430 feet, 5 feet lower than Limestone Knob, so it isn't necessary for this county, but is the highest for Fleming county, so will be visited in the future.

one area 2 1/4 miles west of Waltz (1,420+ ft)

From exit 137 on I-64 at Morehead, go north on KY32 for 1.2 miles and turn right onto KY377. Follow this road northeast 5.1 miles and turn left onto Clear Fork Road. Drive about 4 miles (didn't get exact distance due to confusion) to the end of the valley where the large fields end and there is a small field heading into a hollow on the right where the road turns left.

Option 1 is to continue on the gravel road around the nose of the ridge (west) into Clear Creek valley and park at a dirt road pullout gated by the forest service after 50 feet. Follow this road over, under, and around fallen trees north-northeast into the hollow heading northwest. After about 0.3 mile the road hits the bottom of the valley and I headed across and followed a ridge northeast to the ridge, then went due north to the summit. There is an ATV trail on the ridge, but it doesn't go all the way to the top. There are some large cap rocks around the elongated summit, but the only real obstacles are briars, blackberry stems, and many ice-storm fallen trees in the woods. I jumped a deer in a channel between the rocks while crossing to the summit. My compass came in very handy for this hike because at first I thought I needed to hike up the left ridge from my parking area, not one across the right ridge and valley. I then noted the orientation of all the major valleys (I hadn't noticed Mill Branch due to trees blocking its mouth) and barns to get myself aligned. Total hike from here is 2.2 miles with an overall gain of 450 feet.

Option 2: Knock at the last house on the right, just past a couple of barns and before the last field on the right. I forgot the names, but the couple living here are friendly and said if I or anyone else comes back, that we can use the better route from their house. From the house, hike behind the house to the power line cut (only 5 years old) and follow it north along the ridge. There is a trail up the ridge to near the top, the one I found once on the final ridge. Total distance for this route would be 1.6 mile, but more importantly one wouldn't have to worry about the blackberries, briars, or ice-fallen trees until just before the top.

Limestone Knob (1,435 ft)

From Interstate 64 exit 137 at KY32, drive south on KY32 for 2.9 miles, turn right onto US60 and drive 0.6 mile, turn left onto KY519 (the Woody May Highway) and go 3.7 miles, turn right onto KY1274 and drive 1.2 miles, turn right onto FR16 and drive 0.6 mile, turn right onto FR964 and drive 1.7 miles to the end of the road and park. The road is gated at this point by the Forest Service, but a sign says foot traffic is allowed.

Follow this gravel/dirt road 2.0 miles. The road curves left, and Limestone Knob is straight ahead (west). I followed the road around to the left hoping it would climb to the summit, but it didn't, so I bushwhacked the 200 feet of gain to the summit, finding a good place to scramble up the bluff to the top. The top is small and wooded. I didn't realize there was a benchmark or I would have researched it and looked around more, but there were some rocks in one place, and a small rise near a stump in another. For the return I headed down the east side back to the road. Briars and blackberry stems guard this highpoint as well, so my legs now have their distinctive look, as well as a pair of 4 inch long scratches on my right arm.